Berlin Ethnologisches Museum – Jacobsen Collection

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Items from the lower Kenai Peninsula With Photos

Lamp – IV.A. 6664 – A
Sanradna – 16cm x 13cm x 5cm


Lamp Fragment – IV.A. 6684
Sanradna Cooks Inlet – 15.5cm x 15.5cm
“Lamp fragment of stone” – Broken in approximately half, original might have been 30cm x 15.5cm.


Lamp – IV.A. 6683
Sanradna Cooks Inlet – 11cm x 9cm x 2cm
“Lamp of stone”


Iron Knife – IV.A. 6671
No Location Noted – 20cm x 2.5cm
Iron knife – long


Iron Knife – IV.A. 6670
No Location Noted  – 9.5cm x 10cm x 2.5cm
Iron knife – semi lunar


Wooden Fragment – IV.A. 6682
Sanradna Cook’s Inlet
“Wooden antlers from a grave” – Perhaps a handle made of wood, appropriated from a grave.


Wooden Fragment – IV.A. 6682
Sanradna, Kachemak Bay, Cook’s Inlet – 39cm x 2cm
“Sharp pointed staff” – A staff or a stick – perhaps used for digging.


Wooden Mask or Tablet – IV.A. 6680
Sanradna – 23.5cm x 25.5cm x 9mm
“Wooden tablet from a grave” – Although this item is labeled as a “tablet,” most likely it is a mask. There is a very similar mask in the Fisher collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH 72506), which is described as a “plank mask”.* The rectangular opening in the middle can serve as a frame for a face, and there is residual red paint on the front of the mask. The fact that Jacobsen collected this item form a grave also supports identification as a mask.

*(Crowell, A., 1992, Postcontact Koniag Ceremonialism on Kodiak Island and the Alaska Peninsula: Evidence from the Fisher Collection. Arctic Anthropology 29(1): 18-37.)


Stone Grinder – IV.A. 6667
Sanradna – 6.5cm x 3cm
“Stone Grinder” – Round stone for grinding (or for weighing down something?)


Baby Cradle/Carrier – IV.A. 6678
Cook’s Inlet – 36cm x 49cm
“Baby Carrier” – According to Jacobsen’s description of this item in “Alaskan Voyage,” it was collected in Chenega (Knight Island) form a grave of a mother and child. Jacobsen discarded the human remains on site, as he judged them “almost completely decayed.”

He wrote: “In one grave there was a woman and a child. Hard as I tried to preserve them I did not succeed, and I came away with only the woman’s skull and the child’s cradle. It was a great problem to transport the skeletons to the water’s edge. We were not the first visitors here, for the collector from the Smithsonian Institution had preceded us.”*

The carrier appears to be made of seal skin affixed to a wooden frame – some fur on the seal skin and some of the moss used to fill out the carrier (as well as for “diapers”?) are also largely intact.

Jacobsen might be referring to “Fischer” as “the collector from the Smithsonian.” Jacobsen came to the Chenega area directly from Kodiak on a schooner with Captain Anderson. Jacobsen and Cpt. Anderson made an agreement that half of everything they find would go to Fisher. The William J. Fisher collection is housed at Smithsonian Institution and some of the pieces were featured in various exhibitions at the Arctic Studies Center in Anchorage.

*(Jacobsen, J. A. 1977, Alaskan Voyage 1881-1883. The University of Chicago Press. Pp. 205).


Carved Staff from Grave – IV.A. 6681
Sanradna Cook’s Inlet – 72cm x 3.1cm diameter
“Carved Staff from Grave” – Large staff, carved and painted red.


Iron Spearhead – IV.A. 6688
Sanradna – 24cm x 1 cm
“Spear head of iron” with fishtail end.


Large Wooden Mask Fragment – IV.A. 6674
Sanradna – 68cm x 23cm
Large mask with pointed head and red paint residue.


Wooden Mask Fragment – IV.A. 6675
Sanradna – 12cm x 34.5cm and 14cm x 33.5cm
A medium sized mask with squared head in two pieces. Red paint residue on front is clearly visible. Two pieces fit together and create upper ¾ of the original mask. Appears to be carved out of driftwood.


Glass Beads – IV.A. 6668
Sanradna – 0.6cm x 0.9cm and 0.6cm x 0.4cm
“2 glass beads – round light blue – angular [oval] dark blue”


Painted Wood Grave Figure – IV. A. 6679
Sanradna – 45cm x 9.5 cm x 7.5 cm
Shaman’s figure, painted red on face and holes on earlobes. Elaborately carved face. Similar to: Alutiiq Museum (UA85.193:4063 and UA85.193.3695) Looking Both Ways – Our Beliefs – Stake Dolls: “It was believed that shamans could put a spirit into a doll, then send it away to save people from danger — or to cause their deaths. Some dolls could speak, but only the shaman could hear their words. Spirit-helpers also took the forms of owls and loons, whose calls meant the arrival of sickness.”

Also NMNH E074719 – Shaman’s doll – Fisher


Wooden Mask with Red and White Paint – IV. A. 6676
Sanradna – 23 cm x 6.5 cm x 27.5 cm
While the catalog description identifies Sanradna as origin location of this mask, Jacobsen’s descriptions in the travel journals describe a mask similar to this one collected from the vicinity of Chenega.

Mask has red paint marks that are still visible. There are small holes on the outside edge probably for feathers. It appears to be made of driftwood.


Sleeping Mat – IV. A. 6263 
Chinega – 82cm x approximately 2-3 meters
“Sleeping mat woven of grass decorated with feather and red wool” – Large grass mat decorated with small black feathers and red wool. Similar on exhibition at Smithsonian – Sharing Our Heritage – from Fisher collection NMNH E090463 “piirraq” grass mat. According to descriptions of similar items these grass mats were used on the bottom of kayaks as insulation from the cold water, as well as for comfort. I was unable to take exact measurements of the length as the mat was in a somewhat fragile state with frail ends the available surface was not long enough to support the entire mat when unrolled. It is very large.

Box Without Lid – IV. A. 6212
Chinega, Prince William’s Sund – 8.5 cm x 9.5 cm x 12.5 cm
“Box with compartment for jewelry (no cover)” – Measurements on filing card read 13 cm x 9 cm. A wooden box with red geometrical design. It is made with nails, the wood fitted together from pieces. From Chenega. Not certain what the jewelry compartment remark indicates. Perhaps it denotes the general cavity of the box.


Whale Spear – IV. A. 6236
Chinega, Prince William’s Sund  – 9.8 cm x 3.4 cm
Slate whale spear (dart) head made for poison whale dart hunting.


Whale Spear – IV. A. 6237
Chinega, Prinz William’s Sund – 16 cm x 13.3 cm
Slate whale spear (dart) head made for poison whale dart hunting. See detailed description
supposed Sugt’stun word (?).


Whale Spear Shaft – IV. A. 6238
Chinega, Prinz William’s Sund Alaska – 21 cm x 4.3 cm
“Whale spear with wooden shaft and slate head” – Spear dart (head) separated from the shaft overtime, and they were unable to identify which was the corresponding slate dart. There are many slate darts in collection, but the spear shaft is often missing. Red coloring appears to cover the outside of the shaft and there is some sort of glue residue on the area where the slate was. Perhaps this was applied as part of preparation in the museum (?).


Quiver for Harpoons and Whale Spears – IV. A. 6247
Chinega, Prinz William Sund – 46.5 cm x 19 cm
“Quiver or leather bag for holding harpoons and whale spears.” Fairly detailed description and supposed Sugt’stun word (?).


Copper Dagger – IV. A. 6250
Chinega, Prinz William Sund – 25 cm x 3.5 cm
Long description in German – item still has a very sharp edge.


Eagle Skin and Feather Coat – IV. A. 6259
Chinega, Prince of Williams Sound – 145 cm x 87 cm
“Jacket of eagle skins. The large feathers are sheared so only the underneath down is left” – Stitching can be seen only on back side of the coat. Superb craftsmanship of fitting eagle skins together.

Item IV. A. 6258 is another Eagle feather coat, “Jacket of eagle skins.” I was unable to take photos of the item due to heavy contamination.


Woven Grass Man’s Hat – IV. A. 6174
Kinega Village, Prince William’s Sound – 21 cm x 28 cm
“Man’s hat woven of grass, painted, and decorated with beads and sea lion mustache (beard)” – There are red and black paint decorations on the hat, which is very fragile. There is also a red cotton-like cord that ties under the chin.


Beaded Bracelets – IV. A. 6189  
Chinega Village Prinze Williams Sund
The collection contains a selection of beaded bracelets and armbands. The exact number of items was inconclusive. Blue, white and dark red color beads are dominant, with a few rows of light red/pink hues.


Model Canoe – IV. A. 6255
Chinega Village Prinze Williams Sund – 7.8 cm x 55 cm x 13 cm
“Model canoe carved and painted” – Red and black paint used on outside, carving marks are visible in the inside. Somewhat unusual shape – perhaps it was a trade item? Clear image of sea mammal on the sides and the rest of the decoration appears to be abstract patterns.


Fish Bones – IV.A. 6631
Sanradna,  Cook’s Inlet
“Two fish bones – some kind of tool”
Labeled as fish bone, but can it be other kind of bone such bird bone?


Decorations (Fetish) – IV. A 6223, 6224, 6225, 6226 
Chinega Village
Sea otter figurines carved of ivory/bone. There is a collection of four.


Pot Fragment – IV.A. 6655 
Sanradna – 9 cm x 10 cm
“Pot fragment from the ground from around a gravel pit” (?)


Digging Instrument – IV.A. 6617
Sanradna, Cook’s Inlet – 12 cm
“Digging Instrument (?)”


Bone Awl – IV. A. 6628
Sanradna, Cook’s Inlet – 19 cm
“Bone Awl”


Whale Bones – IV.A. 6650 
Sanradna, Cook’s Inlet – 22 cm x 6 cm
“Whale Bones”


Fish Knife – IV.A. 6659, IV.A. 6659
Sanradna – 7 cm x 2 cm
“Fish Knife”


Items Without Photos

Slate Lance Head – IV.A. 6635, IV. A. 6636, IV. A. 6637 –  Sanradna

Bone Arrowhead – IV.A. 6638 –  Sanradna, Cook’s Inlet

Bone Arrowhead Fragment – IV. A. 6639 – Sanradna, Cook’s Inlet

Arrowhead – IV. A. 6640 – Sanradna

Bone Arrowhead Fragment – IV.A. 6641, IV. 6642 – Sanradna, Cook’s Inlet

Bone Arrowhead – IV.A. 6643 – Sanradna

Bone Arrowhead – awl? – IV.A. 6644 – Sanradna

Bone Arrowhead – IV.A. 6645 – Sanradna

Bone Arrowhead Fragment – IV.A. 6646 – Sanradna

Arrowhead – IV.A. 6647, IV.A. 6649 – Sanradna,  Cook’s Inlet

Piece Made of Whalebone – IV.A. 6651 – Sanradna Cook’s Inlet

Bone Item – probably for harpoon – IV.A. 6652 – Sanradna

Several Animal Teeth – IV.A. 6653 – Sanradna Cook’s Inlet

Large Mussel (shell?) – IV.A. 6656 a.b.c. – Sinradna

Sea Otter Skull and Jaw – IV.A. 6657 a, b, c, d, e – Sanradna Cook’s Inlet

Material for Knives, Lances, Arrowheads, ect – IV.A. 6658 a, b, c, d, e – Sanradna, Cook’s Inlet

Slate Items and Knife Fragments – IV.A. 6660 – Sanradna, Cook’s Inlet

Slate Arrowhead – IV.A. 6661 – Sanradna

Slate Item – IV.A. 6662 – Sanradna, Cook’s Inlet

Arrowhead Fragment – slate – IV.A. 6663 – Sanradna

Wheatstone – IV.A. 6665 – Sanradna, Cook’s Inlet

Long Bone – IV.A. 6666 – Sanradna, Cook’s Inlet

Bone Arrowhead – IV.A. 6689 – Sanradna

Fetish  – IV.A. 6224, IV.A. 6223, IV.A. 6226, IV.A. 6225 – Chinega Village

Fire Drill – IV.A. 6616 Sanradna, Cook’s Inlet

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